i’m sitting at my makeshift desk with a candle burning and a hot mug of decaf. it’s sunday. by far, my favorite day out of the week. i slept in, hit up a sweaty yoga class with two of my good friends and have bought myself the afternoon just for me.
it was a tough week. i made the decision a few weeks ago to leave a yoga studio i have been teaching at for four years, a studio where i have truly grown into myself and have been lucky to have unbelievable students. i made the choice because i wanted my evenings. after a full day of teaching, coaching and running around, it was taking quite a bit of caffeine and sometimes a personal bribery of coconut ice cream to get me rallied to get there.
leaving the studio is scary to me. i rarely spend any time in my comfort zone as of late. what i’m up to demands me to live outside of it, as desired otherwise i would’ve always stayed put, but it can be pretty damn exhausting. what i know though, is that to give a lot to others, you’ve gotta take the time to fill back up.
at the end of my very last class at the studio last wednesday night, i took a moment to look around at so many of the students who have been there every week for years. our relationship has deepened beyond the time on the mat. i feel committed to their growth and happiness, and i think they feel committed to mine. i was determined not to cry until i heard a hiccup of a cry out of one of my students irena. immediate waterfall of tears from me. it’s almost funny – it’s not like i’m moving to alaska, i just won’t be at this studio anymore – but it’s also total proof of our powerful and vulnerable our time is on our mats. in fact, these relationships that i’ve built is precisely why i do what i do. it’s the truly yoga – a deep connection with others where we see ourselves in them and they in us.
as we said our goodbyes, irena handed me a package. i unwrapped it to find a tank she made me that said, “blisscrafter” on the front and “practice joy” on the back, as well as a card inscribed with a quote i read in her very first class:
“all is well, and you will never get it done. life is supposed to be fun. no one is taking score of any kind, and if you will stop taking score so much, you will feel a whole lot better – and as you feel a whole lot better, more of the things that you want right now will flow to you. you will never be in a place where all of the things that you are wanting will be satisfied right now, or then you could be complete – and you never can be. this incomplete place that you stand is the best place that you could be. you are right on track, right on schedule. everything is unfolding perfectly. all is really well. have fun. have fun. have fun!”
when she handed me that card i remembered the night i read it, i remember the extremely painful time i was going through, i remember trying not to cry.
but now i’m gonna cry, i’m gonna be vulnerable, i’m gonna be right outside my comfort zone if you are trying to find me.
because all is really well. have fun. have fun. have fun!
hi thirty, it’s very nice to meet ya.
before i go running into this year with arms wide open, i’d like to take a moment to reflect on my twenties.
twenties, i truly owe you. we had a few rough and tumbles but lord were they necessary and i’d like to think i’ve escaped mostly unscathed.
you’ve taken me so many places – the canals of amsterdam, the mountains of switzerland, the coast of my beloved california, and mostly certainly mining deeply into the depths of my own heart. there’s been heartbreak so terrible it took two ambien to sleep (i do not condone this) and love so deep that i ended up in a white dress and cowboy boots. i’ve lost loved ones so special that i sometimes feel them years later in the strangest of moments (martha, you follow me everywhere and remind me to use at least some “discernment” which i’m sure my own mother greatly appreciates.) i now have a tribe of girlfriends so fierce and strong that i have absolutely no doubt nothing could break us. i have a little family with a husband who supports me in all ways and a bulldog daughter that melts my heart.
but i think the most beautiful and what i’m most grateful for is the ability to trust myself and the moment. it sure as hell took a long time to get there.
thank for you for mine and my family’s health. thank you for allowing me to do what i love as “work.” thank you for bringing the most special people into my life. thank for my everchanging practice of sweat, breath and imperfection. thank you for teaching me to not always believe what i think. thank for surprising me. thank for forgiving me. thank you for being messy.
(to those i hurt by being “messy” i’ve spent a lot of time being really sorry and feeling ugly. i have to leave that hurt and that sorry here, very much behind me, and hope that we’ve both grown from it and that we are where we are meant to be. darkness accompanies the light, and it has taken me quite a long time to get acquainted with it.)
in preparation for this coming decade, i sat down with one of my best friends to look at where i am right now and where i want to go. there were painful parts to move through, places where i am still causing myself pain, and beautiful parts that i’m creating every day.
we decided that the words i wanted to focus on for this decade were REAL and RADIANT. real as in authentic conversations, authentic relationships, authentic dreams. real as in not bullshitting anyone about where i am or who i am, in order to be “liked.” radiant as in radiant health, radiant energy, radiant daily goals and intentions.
but after pondering these for awhile i think another word i’d like to add is GRACE. thirty is beautiful but definitely a time of change. my body is changing a bit. my mind. my relationships. and are we start a family at some point during this decade, everything will shift. i don’t want to fight it. i want to embrace it all gracefully. pushing and fighting has always looked so damn ugly to me. just grace.
a few humble requests for this year –
inspiring communication with my husband. a three-day weekend somewhere with just my little brother. a strong body and an open heart. continuing radiant health for my family. a abundant yoga and coaching profession, as well as super fun collaboration. a little less thinking, a bit more breath.
oh, and hey thirty-year-old me,
you are beautiful. you are imperfectly perfect. and i really love you.
go take this decade by the balls.
“the place where you are right now
god circled on a map for you.
wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
against the earth and sky,
the Beloved has bowed there.
our Beloved has bowed knowing
you were coming.
i could tell you a priceless secret about
your real worth dear pilgrim.
but any unkindness to yourself,
any confusion about others,
will keep one
from accepting the grace, the love!”
in true virgo fashion, i can be a big ol’ critical pain in the ass.
i can be hard on those closest to me. i jump to conclusions. my mind is a very busy illusory machine.
that being said, because i know this about myself, i keep the reins on my mind quite tight. i probably ask myself, “is that true?” twenty times a day, but when the acupuncture, the green juice and the sweaty yoga practice has been pushed onto the back burner, my inner demons rear their ugly heads.
after a challenging trip home, i had a weird week. i was feeling really critical of everybody but me, and that downward spiral was putting me in an epically shitty mood. so friday i picked up the phone and called my mom who entertained my bullshit for about ten minutes then promptly sent me an email:
“actually you were part of the reason the weekend was rough. so get over yourself. embrace the greatness about your life.”
a few years ago that email would’ve sent me into a tailspin but as soon as i got it i thought, yesyesyes you are so right.
i was missing the beautiful moments with my husband, with my family; the time spent in my childhood home; the afternoons in nature.. and it was all because i was caught up on a few shitty interactions.
sometimes our mirror becomes dirty and we cannot see ourselves or others clearly. in yoga we call this avidya. it’s important to question our view constantly because it’s distorted. the exact same thing could happen to you and i, and we’d likely have wildly different stories and experiences.
donna farhi likens deconstructing these barriers to cleaning the windshield on one’s car so that one can see the beauty and avoid the potholes while driving.
where does this critical inner nature come from? how can i feeling so loving and compassionate then the critic rears its ugly head? i think the only way to lessen it is to love it. to understand that it’s from a place of fear. to understand that it’s another reason to look even deeper within.
everything that’s happening is just simply happening. we are the ones that choose to attach a story to absolutely everything. when our story isn’t inspiring, it’s time to look in the mirror. it’s time to make a shift.
it’s funny – sometimes words come so easily; they just flow. other times i must force every moment i spend writing. i’m in one of those slumps.
lots of stuff is brewing under the surface. many big shifts in my life are happening – my career, my outlook, my relationship – and all are calling for me to focus, dive in and, in many ways, grow up.
while at home in iowa this weekend, i found myself spontaneously bursting into tears. spending time in the house i grew up in (that my dad also grew up in) seeing my family and friends i have known since i was little, felt strangely hard. it was as though i finally realized how far away my life was in los angeles. what that means for the future, i’m truly not sure, but i do know that matt and my future requires spaciousness, trees, fresh air and really good people. we have so much of that here in los angeles but it comes at a costly price.
family is the most important thing to me in the world, and it definitely expands beyond the few with which i’m blood related. it’s a tribe that you are drawn to. that inspires you. that teaches you lessons. i have no doubt that i’ll continue to find that wherever we might end up, but right now i feel called to get clear with myself. getting clear isn’t always pretty, and doesn’t always result in tidy blog posts with a “moral of the story.”
today it’s just messy, and from the heart, and that’s okay.
there are a few things that have been on my goals for a bit (pre-wedding that is…) that are only now seeing the light of day. better now than never!
as i read on jen pastiloff’s blog the other day: follow your excitement.
“when we are inspired, we are inspiring.”
here is what is exciting me right now:
- having a daily personal yoga practice, even if i make it to a class. i don’t care if i’m literally laying in supta baddha konasana simply breathing, or practicing my handstand. just getting on my mat, on my own time, every day.
– registering for my life coaching certification. i start in one week!
- starting a teacher training i’m co-leading with yonnus and courtney of studio surya starting this weekend.
- trying stand-up paddleboarding. my girlfriends and i went two weekends ago and loved it. besides pissing off a bunch of sea lions (ashley thought she’d try to pet them despite our warnings. ha!!) and me tumbling into the water twice, we had so much fun. i’m not sure if my core hurt more from trying to stand up or laughing hysterically.
- beginning to teach at an amazing lil’ eco-friendly studio in manhattan beach called the green yogi. right off the beach (i stuck my toes in the ocean before class last thursday) with lots of talented teachers i’m excited to learn from!
- leaving a gig that i have learned a lot from but knew it was time to leave. no more commuting past the beach! hello bicycle and quality of life!!
where is your excitement taking you right now? where are you wanting to go?
i spent a couple of hours yesterday on our back deck wrapped in a blanket with a pot of lapsang souchong tea and books piled high. after not reading anything but smut for a couple of months (seriously. since we got cable i forgot how to read. despicable.) i hit the ground running with danielle laporte’s desire map, anne lamott’s some thoughts on faith and another lil’ gem called if the buddha married.
i read blogs like it’s my job but it has definitely been awhile since i have sat and dug deep into some mind-expanding, life-altering books, and all of these books are most certainly that.
what are you reading these days?
a few of my fave parts so far with more to come:
“the truth is that meaningful change is a process. it can be uncomfortable and is often risky, especially when we’re talking about embracing our imperfections, cultivating authenticity, and looking the world in the eye and saying, ‘i am enough.’
however afraid we are of change, the question that we must ultimately answer is this: what the greater risk? letting go of what people think or letting go of how i feel, what i believe, and who i am?
wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. it’s about cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, i am enough.
it’s going to bed at night thinking, yes, i am perfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that i am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
it makes sense to me that the gifts of imperfection are courage, compassion, and connection, because when i think back to my life before this work, i remember often feeling fearful, judgmental, and alone – the opposite of these gifts…
choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance…one minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends.
you’ll also wonder how you can feel so alive and so afraid at the same time. at least that’s how i feel most of the time…brave, afraid and very, very alive.”
it’s not that i’m not grateful. i cannot imagine anything better for myself, but it’s like my body and mind can’t quite catch up to all of this change and excitement, and i don’t feel very present.
how do you remedy this? or is it about not changing a thing, and just riding this wave til its end? til you feel like you again. i feel like i’ve tried it all – hibernating, a juice cleanse, two quiet sundays in a row.
a reader wrote the other day and said, “how can i always be happy like you are?” i was so alarmed when i read it. i wrote back immediately and explained that i wasn’t always happy, looking at the world through rose-colored lenses, but that i was more likely to write when i did feel like that. life happens – big events, crises, hormones, hangovers. things happen, and you just gotta roll with it.
last night we stopped into our local grocery store to pick up a few things, and even though i was feeling so quiet and withdrawn, we ran into about ten people that we knew. usually that would excite me to no end, but i just don’t feel like that right now. i crave quiet. i wanna run away with my man and our pup to a cabin the woods for a week.
and you know what? sometimes that’s perfectly okay. it’s the ebb and the flow.